An emergency curfew has been imposed for Miami Beach as thousands gathered to celebrate spring break – with reports of fights breaking out.
Revellers had been warned by US authorities to “vacation responsibly or be arrested”, as large crowds were seen in the streets with little social distancing and many not wearing masks.
A text message sent to all visitors to Miami read: “Spring break in Miami Beach may be one of the great rites of passage, but only if you plan on following the rules.
“Otherwise, you might as well just stay home and save yourself the court costs.”
However, it appeared many ignored the message leading to the immediate 8pm-8am curfew order.
Interim city manager Raul Aguila told the Miami Herald he has recommended keeping the rules in place until at least 12 April.
“These crowds are in the thousands,” he added. “We’re at capacity.”
No pedestrians or vehicles will be allowed to enter the restricted area after 8pm and all businesses must close.
The curfew comes as the popular Clevelander South Beach bar announced it was temporarily suspending all food and drink sales until at least 24 March following a number of fights.
At another restaurant next door, tables and chairs were smashed during a fight, according to reports.
A county-wide midnight curfew was already in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But local officials have struggled to enforce the rules.
Under governor Ron DeSantis’ pro-business stance, Florida has no state-wide mask rules, limits on capacity or other such restrictions.
Florida is not the only place popular with spring breakers, with Mexican resorts such as Tulum and Cancun still attracting Americans after relaxing some of their coronavirus rules in the weeks coming up to the holiday.
Hotels are only allowed to be up to 60% full, but many Americans have flown to Mexico and are enjoying a relatively normal holiday, although face masks are required in some areas and buffets are no longer self-service.
The US government warned in the weeks coming up to spring break to not travel there as COVID-19 cases and hospital admissions remain high in those areas.
Due to limited testing it is believed the real number of cases could be up to three times the official overall case number of just over two million.